TSA joins Instagram to show off confiscated weapons

Guns, knives, and grenades—all are items the public still tries to take on planes. Learn how the Transportation Security Administration reaches out and educates its travelers through visuals.

Nothing annoys some travelers more than the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Its intense security checks are why you leave for the airport three hours early after desperately searching for shampoo in bottles smaller than 100 ml.

At the airport you’re asked to remove your shoes, pass through X-rays, and subject yourself to metal detectors—all of which makes you wonder, “Is this really necessary?”

The answer? Yes, it is.

If you aren’t convinced, check out the administration’s newly launched Instagram that boasts more than 41,000 followers.

TSA joined the picture sharing platform on June 27, posting photos of confiscated contraband, ranging from loaded guns to inert grenades.

When contacted by Ragan.com, Ross Feinstein, press secretary for the TSA, said the following:

“The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) uses a variety of ways to engage with the traveling public in order to provide timely information that assists them in traveling safely.

“TSA is currently exploring the use of Instagram to augment social media tools that provide timely information to travelers.”

TSA spokesman David Castelveter told the Daily Mail that the administration has detected an upward trend in the number of guns intercepted.

The Daily Mail points out that the TSA found 894 weapons in the first six months of 2013—a 30 percent increase from the same period in 2012. Additionally, in 2012, 17 percent more travelers than in 2011 attempted to smuggle weapons through airport security.

Though Twitter’s 500 million users provide a larger audience than Instagram’s 130 million users, tweets are only as good as the photos that go with them.

For the TSA, it’s all about the visuals.

With the increase in gun traffic, the ability to tweet pictures is a valuable asset for the TSA. Its Instagram contains pictures of weapons that look like they were taken at a crime lab.

The TSA is no stranger to social media. Its blog and Twitter page highlight items that travelers are not allowed to take on planes. It also has a YouTube page, as well as a mobile app with access to the most frequently asked security questions.

Real-time updates of weapons in specific airports help passengers understand the need for intense security, in addition to providing an easy guide for what not to bring onto an airplane.

Though it might seem obvious to many that they shouldn’t carry certain items onto planes, to others that isn’t the case. Just take a look at the TSA’s inaugural picture.

Apparently, a few of us got too excited for July 4.

(Image via)

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